A TV Show -- and Congress -- Tackle School Lunches

More than seven million viewers watched the premiere of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” an ABC reality series in which the British chef storms the kitchens of Huntington, West Virginia, to improve the town’s collective diet.

To the chagrin of cafeteria workers everywhere, his star villains are the town’s lunch ladies. They ended up looking so bad that the national School Nutrition Association followed up with a press release in their defense.

That wasn’t the only recent public thrashing for the people who make school food. Students in Chicago showed up at a Board of Education meeting to protest the quality of their midday meals.

In Washington, a Senate committee cut by more than half a proposal by President Obama to spend a record $10 billion more on child nutrition programs over 10 years. However, people who have been working with the Agriculture Department and Congress to improve school food say the bill’s $4.5-billion increase is still a historic improvement.

At least $40 million would be spent on farm-to-school programs and school gardens. Another $10 million would go toward adding organic food. And millions more have been included to train cafeteria workers.

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